It was thought a change of scenery might revive Albert Haynesworth, but he recorded just three tackles in six games for the Patriots. (Tom Croke/Icon SMI)
Bill Belichick could have been Albert Haynesworth's life raft. When the Patriots grabbed the underperforming Haynesworth in a trade with the Redskins this offseason, there was at least a glimmer of hope that maybe -- just maybe -- getting out of Washington would spark something in him.
He had, after all, been one of the NFL's most dominant linemen for seven seasons in Tennessee, before signing a $100-million contract with the Redskins and turning into one of the league's biggest free agent busts of all time.
But Belichick and the Patriots had a long history of turning other teams' trash into treasure. And New England looked to be a nice fit -- in addition to playing for Belichick, Haynesworth could slide into the 3-4 as needed and contribute in specific, if not limited, situations.
Haynesworth couldn't even handle that, which is why the Patriots released him Tuesday, as first reported by Ian Rappaport of the Boston Herald.
Will another team claim him on waivers or sign him once he clears? Maybe, but what's the point?
Haynesworth has not looked like he's willing to expend the slightest bit of effort since signing with Washington prior to the 2009 season.
Sunday was the breaking point for the Patriots. Haynesworth was driven out of position on a third-quarter Brandon Jacobs touchdown run, then had a spat with defensive line coach Pepper Johnson on the sideline. That culminated a day that led Boston Globe writer Greg A. Bedard to tweet that "Haynesworth's play against the Giants was an affront to the uniform."
If Haynesworth's claimed on waivers, his new team will owe him just north of $700,000 for the remainder of the season (the Patriots will pick up that tab if he clears waivers) -- a reasonable price if some team out there is convinced that Big Al can do anything. Given his season totals of three tackles and zero sacks, his questionable locker room presence and his seeming lack of desire to do anything on the field, even that might not be worth the risk.